DSP moves SC to allege CBI is shielding No. 2

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The murky is turning murkier in the country’s premier investigation agency. The Central Bureau of Investigation’s deputy SP Ajay Kumar Bassi, who was investigating allegations of bribery and corruption against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, has now moved the Supreme Court expressing apprehension that the agency might try to bury evidence against Asthana and other senior officers.In his application, a copy of which has been accessed by India Today TV, Bassi has revealed evidence which cropped up during his investigation against the Special Director, now sent on indefinite leave by the Centre.The DSP submitted phone and WhatsApp records allegedly featuring Asthana, R&AW officer Samant Goel (named in the CBI FIR against the special director) and Somesh Prasad, an investment banker based in Dubai who has been named as an accused in the case along with his brother Manoj.Bassi alleged that Samant Goel was involved in shielding the “middlemen” Prasad brothers, sons of Deveshwar Prasad, who retired from R&AW in 2000 as a director.He claimed that calls recorded through phone surveillance and WhatsApp communication (accessed after seizing Prasad’s phone) revealed links among the Prasad brothers, Asthana, Samanta Goel and Sunil Mittal – who Somesh’s father-in-law. Among the recorded conversations are certain calls allegedly between Somesh and Samant Goel, and between Somesh and Sunil Mittal. Some excerpts from the application:Somesh to Sunil Mittal “Asthana to apna aadmi hai (Asthana is our man)””Manoj has met Asthana three to four times””Samant bhai met Asthana after registration of the case””Samant bhai is very close to Asthana”Samant Goel to Somesh “Do not come to India at any cost””Transcripts are available with the CBI but there is a strong chance that they may not place the same on record,” Bassi claimed in his petition before the Supreme Court. He was recently transferred to Port Blair and the investigation into the case against Asthana handed over to CBI SP Satish Dagar.In his plea, Bassi has raised the charge that Dagar “has been instructed to ensure” a clean chit to Asthana.The CBI had booked Asthana on October 15 on the basis of a complaint from Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana, who was being investigated for his role in the massive money-laundering case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Sana had alleged that the on-leave CBI special director had allegedly helped him to get a clean chit from the agency against a bribe running into crores.Bassi has sought court orders for a stay on his transfer, and for a court-monitored SIT to probe the FIR against Asthana and others.He pleaded: “Manner of transfer indicates malafide intent and shows vindictiveness because the fact that the name of Shri Rakesh Asthana and Shri Sai Manohar were cropping up.”Sai Manohar is a joint director in the investigating agency.Bassi alleged: “Investigation revealed that there is a certain link between the summons issued to the complainant (Satish Sana), illegal gratification obtained by the above named public servant (Rakesh Asthana, Devinder Kumar and Samant Goel) and relief provided to Sathish Babu Sana. Summons to Sana was issued by CBI on 12.10.2017, 23.10.2017, 01.11.2017 and 30.11.2017 which led to an agreement for payment of Rs 5 crores to avoid further harassment.””Illegal gratification amounted to Rs 3 crores was given on 10th and 13th December 2017 after which the summons stopped. However, there was pressure to pay remaining Rs 2 crores. This is evidenced in the WhatsApp Messages,” Bassi’s application added. When India Today TV contacted the CBI, the investigating agency refused to comment.Read | Meet Manoj Prasad, the man who nailed top two CBI officersAlso read | Exclusive: Central Vigilance Commission records statements of CBI officers
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